| The history of Aro (which name means "Automobil Romanesc"), like others Eastern factories, starts from the war: formerly, his production was of airplane equipments, and the previous name of the factory was IAR Brasov. The name of Aro is well-know in the off-road scene; this brand was also exported in several countries during the '80s, with a good success.
The first 4x4 Aro is the IMS-57 : the name derives from the year of construction, the 1957. Inspired to the Soviet 4x4 GAZ, was equipped with a 3300 cc.engine, 50 hp, 80 km/h of max speed. The following version is the M-59 , with 56 hp and some improvement of the equipment (the electric wiper-washer was adopted, replacing the previous wiper, with manual shift!). In the 1964, the M-461 cames into production, also this car was very similar to the GAZ, with a 70 hp engine, 100 km/h. This car, very good in the off-road, was the first model exported in other countries, and was produced until 1975.
In the 1972, a totally new model enter in production, after 6 years of project: the Aro series "24". The Aro "24" was equipped with a Renault four-cylinder engine, 2500 cc. with 83 hp, 120 km/h of max speed (these were good performances for the period). This car was very excellent in the off-road: in an hard test of Ford Europe, realized in the 1972, the Aro "24" took the second place, after the Range Rover, and before Jeep-Willys and Ford "Bronco"!
The Aro "24" was a very modern off-road for that period, without the spartan layout typical of the old jeeps, and with a much more comfortable car body. Also several diesel engines were mounted: Tractorul Brasov 3.2 with 68 hp, Aro 2.7 with 71 hp, Andoria turbodiesel 2.4 with 87 hp (Andoria is a Polish engine factory), and Peugeot turbodiesel with 90 hp, all four-cylinder; all these engines are still in production. The car obtained a good success, and was assembled also in Portugal (with the PORTARO brand) and Spain (HISPARO); moreover, it also won the Pharaon's Rally, one of the hardest races of the world. Still today, the Aro "24" runs in some national rally .
Moreover, on the Aro transmission/engine components, also a minivan/truck was realized: the T.V. (from Tudor Vladimirescu, an ancient Romanian warrior), recently renamed Rocar ("Romanian Cars"). The brand was founded in Bucharest in the 1956. There were also 4x4 versions, mainly reserved to the Romanian army.
In the 1980, a new model enter in production (after 5 years of project: this is a very short time for an eastern factory...). The Aro "10" is a small 4x4, equipped with Renault 1.3/1.4 engines (produced by Dacia), the sames of Renault "5". The power is 63 hp, the max speed of 120 km/h. There where the transfer box and the manual blocking of the transmission. During the mid-'80s, the Aro "10" was exported to several countries, with a great success: this is a good period for the market of the off-road, and the "10" is not different, teorically, from the Suzuki "Santana" and others similar cars. But this success was short: the car had problems about the reliability, and the little dimensions of the wheels (the sames of the Dacia/Renault 12) limits the performance in the off-road practice.